by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of A Disguise to Die For, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore.
Proper City, Nevada was a town without a real identity, so perhaps that is what led to it becoming renowned for the residents who don costumes to herald every holiday and celebration. Although Margo Tamblyn always loved working in her father’s costume shop, he was the one who encouraged her to leave and explore new opportunities outside of Proper City. It was not until Jerry Tamblyn was stricken by a heart attack that Margo returned for the first time in seven years to help run Disguise DeLimit, taking a break from her job as a magician’s assistant in Las Vegas. It’s unfortunate that her first big order comes from Blitz Manners, a brash 26 year-old trust fund baby who demands 40 costumes within 24 hours for his detective-themed party.
Margo wields all of her creative skills to craft the required ensembles for Sherlock, Columbo, Miss Marple, and many other illustrious fictional detectives. She is unable to celebrate her success though, as Margo discovers Blitz murdered in his custom Sherlock disguise, with Ebony Welles standing over his body. Ebony stood in as a mother figure when Margo’s died during childbirth, and Margo will do anything to help her; even though Ebony refuses to reveal her connection to the Manners family. Margo still has loyal friends willing to come to her assistance, and she will rely on their support considering her distrust of the new residents in her life. An attractive Asian attorney, Blitz’s roguish best frenemy, the rival party-planning Candy Girls, and Blitz’s own unremorseful family all have Margo on edge, even as she worries over the state of her beloved father’s health.
While this is very much a fashion-themed mystery, the author of three other mystery series incorporates the serious themes of personal growth and one’s search for identities. Margo herself is a delightful character who uses costumes and dressing up as a way to cope with her insecurities and fears. Margo continually lauds costumes’ abilities to build confidence, protect oneself, and be an outlet for creative expression.
They are also a reflection of her struggle to form an identity, as Margo is a delightful study of contrasts. Margo may start her day with a kale-almond milk protein smoothie, but she ends it with a dinner of Fruity Pebbles cereal. This is one of Vallere’s strongest and most deftly written novels, one that incorporates realistic characters with layers of complexity. Fun fashion, of course, comes into play, and humor is woven together seamlessly with dark, very human motivations. Vallere has crafted an emotionally moving and resonant mystery hidden beneath a cozy guise.
To enter to win a copy of A Disguise to Die For, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “disguise,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 12, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
You can use this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
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